Strawberry Season

Come harvest, come days of sixteen hours’
Light kneeling in the fields over each blush,

Each red burr, fingertips stained like spilled wine
And smelling somewhere between mimosa

And charcoal. Eight weeks falling through the year
In a day, a brief smile, nights of candles

And the bone-weariness of red dirt pressed
Deep enough to stay the coming winter.

How winter was a distant grandfather
Living up north, whose annual visit

Was never certain, just a vague shadow
Compared to scent of berries and oakmoss

Here, now, sap rising like wax in our cups.
We had never seen the ocean, but we

Imagined it how our bodies still felt
The kneel, pluck, rise beside the plants at night,

With salt on our lips instead of sugar
And the same delicious thrill of drowning.


Lucien Darjeun Meadows was born in Virginia and raised in West Virginia. An AWP Intro Journals Project winner, he has received nominations for Best New Poets and the Pushcart Prize. Lucien has received fellowships and awards from the Academy of American Poets, American Alliance of Museums, Bread Loaf Conferences, Colorado Creative Industries, National Association for Interpretation, and University of Denver, where he is working toward his PhD in Creative Writing.